Links Daily Devotional

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One Grand Legacy

Now [faith] is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:2, NIV)

Samuel Ryder—at least as far as the limited histories tell it— left two fine legacies. As a businessman, he devised “penny packets” of seeds and made his fortune. As a golfer, he gave us the solid gold Ryder Cup. That trophy has become perhaps the most robustly contested prize in the sport.

The idea of legacy is hardly unusual among those who profess to walk with Jesus. We’ve done a good job through the years of asking questions like: “What do you want your epitaph to say?” Of course, if you grew up with Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” the importance of legacy also bounced around in your brain with a tune attached. In the church and out, the bottom line inquiry was the same: What are you really leaving to those who come after you?

But where do the pages of Scripture lead us in this matter of legacy? Two places, really. First, we want to lead the generations to come into the faith. Second, we want to lead them into faith. And while both are important, there is a difference.

When Moses brought the law down from Mount Sinai and began teaching it to the people, he challenged the parents and grandparents to deliver the history and the regulations of the law to their children and grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:9-10 and 6:4-8). The ways of the Lord—that is, how he acted among them and how they were to act before him—were to be transferred from one generation to the next. These were the elements of the faith, and they were to be deliberately passed along as an ongoing legacy.

But the faith has a knack for becoming lifeless religion. So with the coming of Jesus, we learned that what undergirds the faith is faith, making it imperative that we leave not just a legacy of traditions but a living legacy of heart-held belief. While the Jewish people entered Jesus’ time banking their righteousness on their genealogical roots in Abraham, Jesus and the apostles after them made every effort to unlock their thinking, to show them that what must comes first is faith, just as it did the great patriarch.

Teach your own children and grandchildren both the faith and faith. Leave a legacy of both. But make sure you stress always the foundation of faith.

Jeff Hopper

September 28, 2012

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